Most likely you’ve heard of Lyme disease, but did you realize
Lyme disease is now 4 times more common than AIDS?
I didn’t know just how cruel Lyme disease truly is until getting bit by ticks in the spring of 2012. This led to me becoming progressively and seriously ill.
You may want to read more about my experiences in:
Lyme poses a real threat to people of all ages in the United States, (and throughout the world). Unfortunately, there is much underreporting and confusion about the symptoms of Lyme disease due to many unknowns caused by lack of funds and education (1).
For example, did you know Lyme disease is referred to as “the great imitator”?
This is because people with Lyme are often misdiagnosed in the early stages of the disease with a variety of conditions including fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome, along with many other conditions?
I was diagnosed with all 3 of these conditions, in addition to others, before I finally tested positive for Lyme. These positive test results came via a Western Blot test and a Lyme Antibody test.
I say finally because my family and I knew something was desperately wrong with me, but up until my diagnosis I went 18 long months without any answers.
Avril Levigne revealed in an interview with Good Morning America in June of 2015 that she has battled Lyme. She was told she had other conditions prior to her diagnosis also.
Tick Populations Are Out of Control
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. And this report was from back in August of 2013. Unfortunately, these numbers will most likely continue to rise unless finding a cure for Lyme disease becomes a priority to our government and the CDC. The incidence rate of Lyme has far surpassed that of AIDS, however we still don’t have a cure and testing is notoriously inaccurate.
In Jessica Bernstein’s article entitled, From AIDS to Lyme: Will We Let History Repeat Itself? she mentions similarities between the AIDS patients of the 1980s (who were in desperate need of proper medical treatment but went ignored for years until the AIDS epidemic) and present day Lyme disease patients.
Lyme disease cases were first reported in 1975 in and around Lyme, Connecticut. Because people, animals and ticks move, the incidence of ticks carrying Lyme and people with Lyme has spread throughout the United States.
Here is a map depicting the spread and growth in the black-legged tick population from 1907 up until 2015.
Tick populations continue to reproduce, with recent years being alarmingly worse than years past. Some say this is due to global warming and the effect it has on the environment.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC),
Forests, farms and cities will face troublesome new pests and more mosquito-borne diseases.
There are several good Lyme disease resources on the internet, but my favorite is ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Association). It provides research-based information, and supports physician education so they can better learn and understand Lyme disease and how to give proper treatment for patients.
Prevention is Key
There are things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones to avoid being bit by a tick:
- Check for ticks daily, especially in the warmer months of the year.
- If you’re going outside wear long sleeves and long pants. Also, tuck your pants into tall socks.
- Spray yourself and your clothing with bug repellent before you head outside.
- Shower as soon as possible when you come inside. Use a mirror to check your back.
- When walking on trails stay in the middle, not by the side where you might easily brush up against tall grass or vegetation.
Along with others, I hope to help raise awareness of Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses so that you do not have to go through what I (and many others) am going through. As always, please let me know if you have thoughts or questions about Lyme disease or other health related topics.
Do you or someone you know have Lyme Disease or other tick borne illness? If so, how long did it take for you to get a diagnosis and treatment?
If you want to learn more about Lyme disease you may want to read: